There was a real fear in the Kremlin that if Russian youth (note: 'Russian' - the Kremlin didn't care less about any of the other 'Soviet Republics') were exposed to western culture than they might realise that they were living in a socio-economic hell-hole.
In the 1950s there was a particular fear about Rock 'n' Roll. The Politburo really did not get this at all. The idea that working class people could really lead a cultural revolution really spooked the geriatrics in charge in the Kremlin.
The official line was that Rock 'n' Roll was an American plan to subvert the minds of the youth - and God forbid that black people could be involved!
|Tommy Steele (right) with actor Richard Todd (left)|
Russians have their own take on everything.
Their church, which professes to be Christian, but which is in the hands of the security services, does not even recognise other churches as being Christian.
I remember, after 9/11, attending a lunch at the Russian Orthodox Church in Gunnersbury, West London, presided over by a priest who was later demoted after being exposed as a sexual predator, and being shocked by the statement by said priest that "Russians should not pray for the victims as they (the victims) were not Orthodox".
Actually, a number of victims of the 9/11 attacks were members of the Orthodox Church.
But back to the music.
I am therefore delighted to learn that there is, currently, a terrific Rock 'n' Roll station broadcasting out of Moscow.
101.ru are playing great R'n'R, with a mix of western classics and Russian and other European versions. http://101.ru/radio/channel/89
To be truthful, there is no original R'n'R coming out of Russia, nor is there likely to be in the forseeable future (although Russia is particularly strong on Neo-Nazi skinhead music).
Otherwise, Russian popular music is about 50 shades below Dire. It's awful. It has not one single saving grace.
If you don't believe me, then listen to this garbage:
The perpetrator of this atrocity is Alla Pugacheva, (pictured right) one of Russia's most popular singers. I tried to watch this, and lost interest after 10 seconds. 'Nuff said.'
This, believe it or not, is about as good as Russian popular music gets.
But 101.ru have the balance just right... R'n'R, Rockabilly, DooWop, R'n'B... great tracks, some cover versions and some original, from all across Europe and beyond. This is serious R'n'R, and the chaps at 101 should be commended for this.
Perhaps, like before, proper western culture will awaken the proles to their fate...